CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Legislation that would make it a felony to perform abortions on fetuses after 20 weeks' gestation passed an emotionally charged House of Delegates late Tuesday evening on a 79-17 vote.
The passage vote followed a lengthy, emotional debate on the bill (HB4588).
That included comments from Delegate Nancy Guthrie, D-Kanawha, saying the Legislature does not have the right to tell her or any other woman what rights she has with her body.
"All of you should be ashamed of yourselves for bringing this bill to the floor of the House," she said.
Several delegates suggested the legislation is unconstitutional.
"Constitutionality issues haven't slowed us up in the past on any number of issues," Delegate Woody Ireland, R-Ritchie, said. Ireland said the bill is about what its title, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
Delegate Mike Caputo, D-Marion, suggested the legislation is also politically motivated.
"I predict they'll be about 20 red lights on the board, and then the attack ads will come out," Caputo said, saying in past elections, he has been targeted by anti-abortion groups as being a baby-killer for supporting legislation permitting abortions.
Delegate David Walker, D-Clay, called on delegates to vote their conscience, and said his conscience and religion requires him to vote against abortion.
In a rare move, Delegate Meshea Poore, D-Kanawha, demanded the bill be read in its entirety.